UX Week 2014 Keynote Josh Clark on the Future of Digital Product Design

Josh Clark’s particular mix of practical realism and thoughtful reflection is an ideal match for UX Week. Josh is the author of the book Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps, and frequently gives workshops and talks at conferences around the world. In this interview, Josh and I talk about the current trends in digital product design, and where those trends might be heading. Jesse James Garrett: Josh, tell me a little bit about how you got to where you are and how your work has evolved in recent years. Josh Clark: My career path naturally didn’t begin with internet technology or mobile or multi-device stuff. It’s funny. I have a 14-year-old daughter, and when I was her age, the stuff that we do now didn’t even exist. Which makes me wonder, when she is my age, what new things are going to exist that don’t now. But I started out as a storyteller, which is very much still what I think I do now. I began as a journalist, as a documentary producer for public television. One of the great things about that was learning how to tell a formal linear story in dramatic terms. But then the Internet burst on the scene, and all of a sudden, there was this really accessible new form of storytelling, very democratic in terms of access, where the rules hadn’t yet been decided, they were very much evolving. So I really jumped in with both feet. I do think we are storytellers; we craft and shape and mold stories and behaviors. I think that those stories have grown especially personal as our devices...

UX Week Keynote Speaker Denise Jacobs on Making Creativity Happen

Denise Jacobs calls herself a “creativity evangelist”, helping people cultivate the tools and skills necessary for leading a creative life. These skills are important for everyone, but especially for creative professionals such as designers and developers, for whom the creative challenges never really stop. In this interview, I talk with Denise about how her own life inspired her take on creativity, and what it takes to keep creativity flowing. Jesse James Garrett: Denise, you’ve taken an interesting path to get to where you are. Denise Jacobs: Yes. And it’s actually funny because I find that people are really fascinated by it. JJG: I was when I first heard about it. Tell us a little bit about it. DJ: I’ve been working in the web industry since around 1997. I started off teaching myself HTML and making websites, and then got into doing project management at Microsoft. But I really didn’t enjoy project management. But in the course of that I ended up stumbling into teaching soapmaking classes, of all things. JJG: Soapmaking? DJ: Yes, I started making soap because I was so frustrated with project management that I started doing something creative. I just felt so creatively stifled by working in spreadsheets all day and I just felt like this was not what I was supposed to be doing with my life. So I learned how to make soap and then I started making soap. And then people asked, “Do you sell this? and I said, “Sure.” JJG: I will sell it if you will buy it. DJ: But then people were asking me how to make it, and...

UX Week Keynote Speaker Amanda Dameron on Making Design More Human

If you’re a fan of Dwell magazine, you’re familiar with its unique take on modern architecture and design in the home. Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron is a passionate advocate for the philosophy of design exemplified by the homes, decor, and furnishings showcased in Dwell. In this interview, I talk with Amanda about that philosophy, the changing role of design in our culture, and her keynote at UX Week 2014 in San Francisco this September. Jesse James Garrett: One thing about Dwell that I think makes it distinctive among media entities that cover architecture and design is your emphasis on the real-world implications of design for people’s lives. Aesthetics are great, and everybody loves beautiful things, but I think that in a lot of design media, the emphasis on aesthetics becomes so overwhelming that it detaches from reality. Amanda Dameron: I think, especially in this visual culture in which we’re living, that objects and object appreciation verges into fetishism very quickly. Dwell has always thought to tell the story of the materials and the methodology that goes into a design object, going far beyond what it looks like. I think that you can’t assess the design simply by looking at an object. You really must understand the context and the techniques that go into actually creating it in the first place. Then it’s also about the experience with the object, how does it work within a life, how does it work in its relationship to the human being that’s using it. All of those things go into the way that we talk about design. JJG: Dwell is about 14 years...

UX Week Keynote Speaker Ken Jennings on Maps and Design

When Ken Jennings stepped onto the stage of the game show Jeopardy! back in 2004, he was a humble software engineer from Salt Lake City. 74 wins later, he stepped off that stage as the winningest contestant in game show history. Since then, Jennings has continued to indulge his interest in esoteric knowledge of all kinds as an author and columnist. One of his books, Maphead, digs into the world of maps and map enthusiasts, looking at the past, present, and future of maps as a fundamental part of human experience. In this interview, I talk with Ken about the connections between the ideas in his book and the concerns of designers, and get a preview of what he’ll be talking about in his keynote at UX Week 2014 in San Francisco this September. Jesse James Garrett: To start things off, let’s briefly introduce people to your book Maphead and what it’s all about. Ken Jennings: So when I was a kid I was obsessed with maps and geography. I was very aware that this was super weird, that I lived in a culture where America famously didn’t know where anything was and people thought maps were confusing and bad and you only looked at them when you were lost. So I felt very odd that I could read a road atlas for pleasure the way a normal kid would read a Hardy Boys book. I found myself thinking many years later, “What’s up with that? Why was I such a weird kid? Were there other people like me out there?” So I wrote this book called Maphead about...

UX Week 2014: Meet the Keynotes

Every year, when we set about the task of choosing speakers for UX Week, we look for people who can bring a broad perspective to the challenges facing experience designers today. I’m particularly excited about this year’s keynotes because they may represent the most diverse range we’ve seen yet. For years, Dwell magazine’s coverage of architecture and interior design has been a major source of inspiration for the designers at Adaptive Path — not just for the obvious aesthetic appeal of the living spaces they feature, but for the clear interest they have in the way people interact with those spaces. That’s why we’re particularly excited to have Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron as our opening keynote. Amanda will be talking about the emerging patterns she’s seeing in how architects and interior designers are creating practical spaces with emotional appeal. We’ve been trying for a long time to get digital product design thinker Josh Clark at UX Week, and I’m happy to say we finally nabbed him. Josh is the author of the book Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps, and he’ll be sharing his thoughts on the deeper principles driving the evolution of digital products in the 21st Century to close out day one of UX Week. He may be best known for taking Alex Trebek to the cleaner 74 times in a row, but author Ken Jennings is also a serious design geek — specifically about maps, and the myriad ways people have used maps to communicate over the centuries. He wrote a whole book on the subject, and he’ll share with us his insights from a lifelong interest in how map...